LSM Newswire

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lang Lang plays Beethoven!

INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTAR LANG LANG PLAYS BEETHOVEN
WITH MAESTRO BRAMWELL TOVEY AND THE VSO

VANCOUVER, BC – World-renowned pianist Lang Lang returns to Vancouver for a special concert on Wednesday, November 4th, at 8pm at the Orpheum Theatre with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. He performs one of the most exciting piano concertos in the repertoire: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Maestro Bramwell Tovey conducts a concert that also includes Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave) and Symphony No. 4.

“…there will be no stopping this nonchalant dervish of the keyboard…[Lang Lang’s] playing was so raptly beautiful that one was afraid to breathe for fear of missing anything.”
—Chicago Tribune

Heralded as the “hottest artist on the classical music planet” by The New York Times, 27-year-old Lang Lang has played sold-out recitals and concerts in every major city in the world, and he is the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic and the top American orchestras. On October 1st, he was a featured performer at the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing. Last May, it was announced that Lang Lang was chosen and one of three official worldwide Ambassadors for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, alongside NBA player Yao Ming and actor Jackie Chan.

Lang Lang performed for a worldwide audience at the opening ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and he appeared on the 50th GRAMMY® Awards show in a memorable piano duet with Herbie Hancock. As further testimony to his tremendous success, Lang Lang recently made Time magazine's list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” Lang Lang will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, a concerto that the composer wrote as a vehicle to enhance his own reputation as a virtuoso pianist. This concert also celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of Classical music’s greatest composers, Felix Mendelssohn.

CONCERT INFO

Wednesday, November 4, 8pm, Orpheum Theatre
Lang Lang plays Beethoven!

Bramwell Tovey, conductor
Lang Lang, piano (Cherniavsky Laureate)

Mendelssohn The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave)
Mendelssohn Symphony No. 4, Italian
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2

The VSO celebrates the 200th Anniversary of the birth of one of history’s greatest composers: Felix Mendelssohn. And classical music’s most exciting superstar, Lang Lang, performs one of the most exciting piano concertos in the repertoire: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

Visit Lang Lang at: www.langlang.com

Tickets: $50 - $125 (senior, student and subscriber discounts available)
Tickets available online at www.vancouversymphony.ca or by calling VSO customer service at 604.876.3434

BIOGRAPHIES

Bramwell Tovey, conductor

A musician of striking versatility, Bramwell Tovey is acknowledged around the world for his artistic depth and his warm, charismatic personality on the podium. Tovey’s career as a conductor is uniquely enhanced by his work as a composer and pianist, lending him a remarkable musical perspective. His tenures as music director with the Vancouver Symphony, Luxembourg Philharmonic and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras have been characterized by his expertise in operatic, choral, British and contemporary repertoire.

Bramwell continues as Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony, a post he has held since 2000. He continues as Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and as founding host and conductor of the New York Philharmonic’s Summertime Classics series at Avery Fisher Hall. In 2008, the orchestras co-commissioned him to write a new work, the well-received Urban Runway, which has also been premiered in Canada.

Last season with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bramwell toured China and South Korea with guest artist Hillary Hahn. The VSO was the first orchestra from Canada to perform in China in 30 years, which ended with a performance at the Beijing Music Festival—another first for a Canadian symphony. Further highlights of the Vancouver season include an in-depth Brahms Festival, featuring all four symphonies, the two piano concertos and the violin concerto. The Brahms Violin concerto is performed with violinist James Ehnes who, along with the VSO, won both a GRAMMY Award and a Juno Award in 2007 for a CBC recording of violin concertos by Walton, Korngold and Barber. Other special guest artists during the season include violinist Joshua Bell as well as a joint performance by celebrated vocalists Samuel Ramey and Frederica von Stade.

An esteemed guest conductor, Tovey has worked with orchestras in Europe and the UK including the London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Orchestra as well as the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra with whom he works regularly. This season, Tovey returns to the Ulster and Helsingborg Orchestras having made his successful debut in 2008/09 and to Opera North and Trondheim Symphony. He makes his debut with Bergen Philharmonic in 2009/10 and will also return to Melbourne as curator of the contemporary Metropolis Festival in summer 2010 and to the main subscription season in autumn 2011. That season, he will also conduct the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for the first time. In North America, along with his work with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Tovey has made guest appearances with the orchestras of Baltimore, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Seattle, Montreal as well as ongoing performances with Toronto, where he conducts each season.

Prior to his music directorship in Vancouver, Tovey spent twelve years as music director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, where he founded its highly regarded New Music Festival. A significant milestone in the ensemble’s exploration of new music, the festival premiered more than 250 works by diverse international and Canadian composers under Tovey’s leadership, with every performance broadcast on Canada’s CBC Radio.

During his four years as the music director of the Luxembourg Philharmonic, from 2002 to 2006, Tovey led three successful tours in Europe, the Far East and the eastern United States, traveling to China, Korea, Germany, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Holland and Belgium. In 2004, Tovey and the orchestra were awarded the “Orphée d’Or” of the Academie Lyrique Francaise, for their critically praised recording of Jean Cras’s opera, Polyphème. The following year, in celebration of the opening of Luxembourg’s new Philharmonic Hall, Tovey conducted the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Europa Academie Choir in the world premiere of Penderecki’s 8th Symphony, composed especially for the occasion.

Renowned as a choral conductor, Tovey has performed works ranging from Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 to Bach’s Mass in B Minor. In opera, his repertoire includes works by Puccini, Strauss, Mozart, Menotti, Poulenc, Britten and Stravinsky. In 2004, he premiered a new opera by John Estacio, jointly commissioned by the Banff Centre and the Calgary Opera, which he reprised for the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in 2005.With a profound commitment to new music, Tovey has established himself as a formidable composer and is the first artist to win a Juno Award in both conducting and composing. He has been commissioned by the Calgary Opera to compose the company’s third original full-length opera. Written with librettist John Murrell, this work is based on the extraordinary life of Alexander “Sandy” Keith, a notorious 19th century con artist and criminal from Halifax, Nova Scotia. An immense undertaking, the piece will premiere in Calgary in January of 2011. Tovey’s other accomplishments as a composer include receiving the Best Canadian Classical Composition 2003 Juno Award for his Requiem for a Charred Skull, performed and recorded by the Amadeus Choir and the Hannaford Band in Toronto.

Tovey has also built a strong reputation as an accomplished jazz pianist with two recordings to his name and has made memorable appearances on television, including two documentaries with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and a 1996 CBC TV broadcast of Victor Davies’ Revelation, a full-length oratorio based on the Book of Revelation, with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. He has also recorded several DVDs, of works including Holst’s The Planets Suite with distinguished guests such as percussionist Evelyn Glennie, among many others.

Awarded numerous honorary degrees, Tovey has received a Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Music in London, honorary Doctorates of Law from the University of Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba and Kwantlen University College, as well as a Fellowship from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. In 1999, he received the M. Joan Chalmers National Award for Artistic Direction, a prestigious Canadian prize awarded to premier artists for outstanding contributions in professional performing arts organizations.

Lang Lang, piano

Heralded as the "hottest artist on the classical music planet" by the New York Times, 27-year-old Lang Lang has played sold out recitals and concerts in every major city in the world and is the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic and the top American orchestras. Testimony to his success, Lang Lang recently appeared in the 2009 Time 100 – Time magazine's annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2008, over 5 billion people viewed Lang Lang's performance in Beijing's opening ceremony for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad where he was seen as a symbol of the youth and future of China. This status has inspired over 35 million Chinese children to learn to play classical piano – a phenomenon coined by The Today Show as "the Lang Lang effect." Recognizing Lang Lang's powerful cultural influence, in 2008, the Recording Academy named him their Cultural Ambassador to China. Most recently, Lang Lang has been chosen as an official worldwide ambassador to the 2010 Shanghai Expo.

Lang Lang has made it his mission to share classical music around the world, with an emphasis on training children and young musicians through education and outreach programs. To that effect, in October 2008 he launched the Lang Lang International Music Foundation in New York with the support of the Grammy's and UNICEF. The Lang Lang International Music Foundation was created enrich the lives of children through a deeper understanding and enjoyment of classical music and to inspire and financially support the next generation of musicians. In May 2009, Lang Lang and his three chosen scholars from the foundation – aged between 8 and 10 years old – performed together on The Oprah Winfrey Show on "Oprah's Search for the World's Most Smartest and Most Talented Kids."

Lang Lang also continues to give master classes regularly throughout the world at the invitation of the most prestigious music institutions, including the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, Manhattan School of Music and Hanover Conservatory, as well as all the top conservatories of China where he holds honorary professorships. He has held music residencies in Chicago, Toronto, San Francisco, London, Rome and Stockholm, which include master classes for exceptional students. In addition to his numerous commitments, Lang Lang holds the title of the first Ambassador of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. His role in this groundbreaking project created by YouTube and Google reflects his devotion to building new audiences and bringing classical music to young people worldwide.

In 2008, his biography, Journey of a Thousand Miles, published by Random House in eight languages, was released to critical acclaim. As part of his commitment to the education of children, he released a version of his autobiography specifically for younger readers, entitled Playing with Flying Keys.

In 2010, Lang Lang continues his busy touring schedule around the world, and will be a featured highlight of the Carnegie Hall China Festival this Fall. Tens of thousands of people have enjoyed Lang Lang's performances in open-air concerts in parks and venues around the globe, including New York City's Central Park, Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Chicago's Ravinia Festival, Theaterplatz in Dresden and Hamburg's Derby Park. In December 2007, Lang Lang was guest soloist at the Nobel Prize concert in Stockholm, an event attended by the Nobel Laureates and members of the Royal Family. Collaborating with Maestro Seiji Ozawa, he appeared at the New Year's Eve gala opening for the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing. He participated in the opening concert at Munich's Olympic Stadium with Mariss Janson, marking the commencement of the World Cup and in a celebratory concert for the closing of '08 Euro Cup finals Lang Lang played with the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Zubin Mehta in front of Schönbrunn Palace.

Lang Lang has become the face and vision for numerous global campaigns. Following, Lang Lang and Herbie Hancock's performance at the 50th Grammy Awards, the pair have recorded a new commercial entitled "Heart" for United Airlines, featuring their rendition of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Steinway has recognized Lang Lang's popularity with children, by creating five versions of the "Lang LangTM Steinway" designed for early music education. This is the first time in its 150-year history that Steinway has ever used an artist's name to produce pianos. Lang Lang is global brand ambassador for Sony Electronics with whom he anticipates achieving innovative and creative possibilities for the future. He has also collaborated with Adidas, creating a limited edition "Gazelle" shoe in his name and continues his honored relationship with Audi Automobiles as their global brand ambassador. He recently signed on to represent Aegon's worldwide financial services. When in Berlin, Lang Lang stays at the grand hotel The Ritz-Carlton and in California, his official home is Shutters on the Beach hotel.

Lang Lang began playing piano at the age of 3 and by the age of 5 he had won the Shenyang competition and given his first public recital. Entering Beijing’s Central Music Conservatory at age 9, he won first prize at the Tchaikovsky International Young Musicians Competition and played the complete 24 Chopin Études at the Beijing Concert Hall at age 13. Lang Lang’s break into stardom came at age 17 when he was called upon for a dramatic last-minute substitution at the “Gala of the Century”, playing the Tchaikovsky concerto with the Chicago Symphony. Following this gigantic debut, he performed successful concerts around the world, leaving the London Times to remark: “Lang Lang took a sold-out Albert Hall by storm… This could well be history in the making.” He has appeared three times on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America, and 60 Minutes. Lang Lang has been featured on every major TV network and in news and lifestyle magazines worldwide, including such diverse publications as Vogue, GQ, Die Welt, Reader’s Digest and People. Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as the “biggest, most exciting keyboard talent encountered in many years,” Lang Lang has progressed from one triumphant appearance to the next.

Lang Lang has performed for numerous international dignitaries including the former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, President George H. W. Bush, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, President Hu Jin-Tao of China, President Horst Koehler of Germany, H.R.H. Prince Charles, as well as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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